Fragments toward a Memoir of New York

Read for the first time by the author, Tim Tomlinson, at APWT’s 2015 conference in Manila.

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If I’m strolling up a boulevard in Paris and I step in a puddle, I think, wow, I just stepped in a puddle in Paris. Mais pas de probleme.

If I’m ambling along a lane in London and I step in a puddle, I think, Right, I just stepped in a puddle on a London lane. Jolly good!

But if I’m walking down some block in New York and I step into a puddle, I think, God, I hate this fucking city.

That’s what New York does to you—it conspires against you, you can feel it. It boils your blood, and that boil boils out onto the streets, the subway platforms, in the steam coming up through the goddamn grills, and it seems like everybody’s head’s about to blow.

And you hear yourself saying it like a mantra: God, I hate this fucking city.

 

It wasn’t always that way. When I moved to New York in 1977, it was still the New York of legend. Times Square like a porn palace, hookers loitering at the bus shelters on the Upper West Side. Crime like a virus, graffiti on every surface, people like human ATMs for muggers lurking in shadows. You get back to your apartment, you turn the cylinder lock, set the dead bolt, secure the crossbar, insert the security chain, set the Medeco, and you still didn’t feel safe. The two blocks walk from the Union Square R to the Strand Bookstore was like walking Spanish, and if you got waylaid by muggers on the return, you hoped they’d take your money, not your books. I fucking loved it. Music everywhere. Patti Smith, Talking Heads, James White and the Blacks, the Mudd Club, CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City. Alternative cinema houses uptown, downtown, crosstown. The Orpheum, the New Yorker, Cinema Studio 1 & 2, Bleecker Street Cinemas, Anthology Film Archives. You could catch the new Fellini, grab a slice, hear the Ramones, and get back home before the 11 O’clock News. But you weren’t going home. This was New York. When I was a kid, growing up on Long Island, I used to stare at the pages of the Sunday Times Arts & Leisure, or new issues of the Village Voice, and think, is it possible that all this shit is actually happening, at the same time, in the same place? Now here I was, right in the midst of it, dizzy with all the choices.

 

In summers, I worked for a furniture moving company called Graduate Movers. Most of us studied at Columbia University—undergrads, Masters students, doctoral candidates. We had painters and opera singers and historians on our crew. One day, I’m working with Carl Johnson from Oklahoma. He’s in the second year of a PhD program in Philosophy at the New School. Usually he’s talking some heavy shit, Kierkegaard’s dizziness of too many possibilities, or Pascal’s wager. Most days you beg him to shut his yap. But today he’s silent. Today he’s got something real on his mind.

“What’s bugging you?” I ask him.

He shrugs me off.

“Tell me,” I say, “I’m listening.”

“No, it’s just this city, man.”

“The city? What about it?”

“I fucking hate it.”

“New York?” I say. “Are you shitting me?”

Carl says, “If New York is so great, where’s all the celebrities?”

“Celebrities? They’re all over the place.”

“Yeah? Well I been living here for two years and I haven’t seen a single one.”

We’re driving down Columbus Avenue in the West 70s, heading for our second job.

“That’s odd.” I tell him. “I see them all the time.”

He says, “You see celebrities?”

“All the time.”

I turn east onto West 73rd, one of those tony tree-lined blocks with classic brownstones.

Carl Johnson says, “Yeah? Like who?”

Up ahead, a man emerges from a car. He crosses the street holding the hand of a little boy.

“How about him?” I say.

“Who?” Carl says, swinging his head.

“Guy with the kid,” I tell him.

He leans closer to the windshield and his eyes go wide.

“Holy shit!” he says. “That’s Dustin Hoffman!”

“What’d I tell you?”

“That’s Dustin Hoffman,” he’s shouting.

I grab him before he can roll down the window.

“Take it easy, Carl. You scare them away if you crowd their space.”

He says, “Dustin-fucking-Hoffman.”

I drive slow so Carl can appreciate the full effect. Ratso Rizzo in khakis and running shoes, walking his kid home from school.

We approach the corner at Central Park West. Across the lanes, a tall slender woman is hailing a taxi. She’s got long flowing hair and legs up to her neck. She looks like she’s on the cover of a record album. I tap Carl.

He says, “Carly Simon?”

“You’re on a roll, Carl,” I say.

“Is that Carly Simon?” he says, his nose flat on the windshield.

“Buckle your seat belt,” I tell him. “You’re gonna go right through the glass.”

Carl was catching it, the New York bug. Tonight he’d be phoning home so excited he’d have half the Oklahoma town packing its bags.

New York can do that to you—it’s infectious. That weird feeling you get seeing total strangers who feel closer to you than family. Over the years, I’d seen them all. John Updike outside The Armory, Sam Shepard at Café des Artistes, Matt Dillon in the Dublin House, Patti Smith at her table in Dante. I met Lou Reed on a coffee line in Zabar’s. I saw Mick Jones of The Clash, in daylight, walking up Amsterdam Avenue in the low 80s. Sometimes you’d go parties and the starlet you’d just seen in a movie would be standing right next to you eating a cracker with cheese. I attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home of theater producer. A huge place, several floors, hundreds of people, the walls covered with musical instruments from all around the world. You could bang a gong, pluck a zither, shake a green tambourine. In the countdown to midnight, the noise grew unearthly, you could float away on the volume, and you did, and you felt like you were entering the constellations along with all the other stars. Sometimes, if you were lucky, you still felt that way in the morning.

 

 

Journey to One’s Own Culture

Filipino author Victor Sugbo speaks with passion about his experience in bringing the Waray literature and culture. Here’s what he said in a session about ‘Regional Vs National and Global Literatures’ at APWT’s 2015 conference.

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It became a return to my cultural community of which I had little knowledge. I knew more about English and American literature and society but not Waray literature.

 

I BELONG in the Philippines who, after graduation from the university, did not know anything about literature in my first language, Waray.

I had little knowledge about the Waray as a people. My father would sometimes mention the name of a playwright in Waray, but I did not bother to inquire about this writer’s works further because he seemed remote and irrelevant to my immediate concern then, which was to find a job.

Things took a different turn for me when my graduate professor in Language and Literature—the doyenne of Bikol literature, Maria Lilia F. Realubit of the University of the Philippines—invited me to sit in a national committee for literary arts at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

It was here that I met for the first time professor writers and critics who wrote in English and who came from the regions. They were the who’s who in the literature of the country. I was the initiate trying to understand the serious concerns of the academics and writers.

Though most of them wrote in English, they advocated the revitalization and propagation of Philippine literature in the other languages.

While they were having translation and anthology projects for their respective literatures in their mother tongues, I was compelled to propose an anthology project on Waray literature. This began my deep involvement in the translation of Waray language and literature. I started studying the myths and legends in Waray.

Waray

Initially I had difficulty reading Waray texts since I was conditioned to reading English medium books most of the time. I was able to overcome my reading difficulty only by reading with an open mind and shedding attitudes. My intention was to produce an anthology that was to introduce readers to Waray literature.

Inasmuch as I expected that the audience of the anthology would be the Waray speakers who had developed an aversion for reading Waray texts, I had to translate the literary texts to English. This was my way of bringing the Waray back to their literature and culture.
Translation became my own adventure into the Waray language and culture of my father and grandparents. It became a return to my cultural community of which I had little knowledge. I knew more about English and American literature and society but not Waray literature.

During the preparation stage of the anthology, I read documents and tomes on the history of Leyte and Samar and the outlying islands. One of the books revealed that in these islands during the 1600s different kinds of oral poems were sung on different occasions.

The ancient people had a sophisticated way of predicting weather. They had a flourishing boat building and jewelry industries. I also learned about their ancient customs and manner of dressing, and gathered their songs from existing museum collections; translating the songs was fun because I learned about their witticisms and ironic humor.

Translating the published literary works found in periodicals from the 1800s to the 1960s revealed that the Waray language had not really undergone drastic changes in vocabulary and syntax. The poetry over this period provided the narrative fabric of the social history of the people.

In the 1800s, the men were shy and since courtship customs were a bit difficult to follow, they expressed their feelings though love songs that revealed their sad plight. In the 1920s, the poems reported that people began to copy the manner of dressing of the Americans. In Calbayog, for instance, there was a time when women wore bathrobes when they went to market as they thought this was the fashion.

In the 1930s and 40s, during the American occupation, the writers assailed the people’s changing mores. The Waray began speaking English. Their women now spent more time preening before the mirror, wearing sleeveless dresses to the annoyance of the men. Government officials were flaunting their power in the community. About the Japanese war, the poets wrote about the heroism of the Waray soldiers.

In the ’50s, after World War II, writers riled against women who started to wear make-up, dress like Westerners, speak English to create snob appeal, and marry American soldiers instead of the local men. The literature during the period showed the writers’ growing apprehension over the increasing dominance of English in the weekly newspapers and similar periodicals. They worried that very few writers were writing in Waray. At the time, a sizeable number were already writing in English and since their works were imitations of American and English poetry and fiction, these did not elicit any significant attention from the educated Waray.

My translation of the Waray literary texts to English in the early 1990s was designed for the Waray who preferred reading English texts and who did not consider literature in Waray to be significant. The intent was to make them begin reading Waray literature after understanding the translations in English, and to have them appreciate their taken-for-granted literary heritage. My other intended audience were those starting to write in Waray. In a sense, my translation work was not intended for the international community of readers.

Today, after numerous writers workshops in Waray, young and new writers have produced new poetry and short fiction in Waray, which they occasionally translate to English. The absence of local publication venues, like periodicals and magazines, has pushed them to publish their works in e-zines and similar venues in cyberspace. The aim here has been to get critical notices from serious critics in the country and attract a wider reading community around the globe.

Globalization of information as an upshot of the new media could have been the channel for making the literatures of other Philippine languages known globally. They do not have to be approved nor endorsed by the powerful critics of Manila. By translating these works to English and making them available in cyberspace, they could now be read by literary critics outside the country. The majority of these works, however, have not earned the interest of these critics and readers; for this reason, one can say that the opportunities of having one’s literary output known globally are merely illusory.

Perhaps, one can learn from the experience of Brazil’s poet par excellence, Carlos Drummond de Andrade whose works got significant attention from the English-speaking world when these were translated to English sometime in the ’80s by Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Strand, two of America’s much admired poets.

The case of Miroslav Holub from Prague, Czechoslovakia took a different route. It was the translation and the “excellent introduction” by noted American critic, A. Alvarez that made Holub widely known. Federico Garcia Lorca of Spain became widely known with the translations of his poems to English by translators Rolfe Humphries, Ben Belitt, Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili.

Clearly, the road for an excellent writer toward international renown is for his works to gain first the critical attention of either accomplished American writers or translators who have good working relations with their publishers. The good fortune that came to Andrade of Brazil, Holub of Czechoslovakia and Lorca of Spain took place long before the onslaught of globalization. Today, the scene has not changed.

Apparently, in the realm of globalization, a little known writer’s work, particularly that coming from a developing country like the Philippines, gathers energy only when an international writer of renown or translator takes notice of the former and translates the text to English.

 

Victorio N. Sugbo has been a Professor of Communication and Literature at the University of the Philippines Visayas. He holds a PhD in Communication, an MA-Tesl and an MAIR, all from the UP Diliman. He has published articles in national refereed journals and edited books. He has likewise papers in international conferences. A poet, he writes in English and Waray (his mother tongue). His poetry has been included in national and international anthologies and periodicals.

 

The Literary Consultancy Comes to Asia

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Rebecca Swift, Director of The Literary Consultancy, will be at the Hong Kong Literary Festival in November this year to talk about how her UK-based consultancy can help writers working outside Britain.

The Literary Consultancy (TLC), begun in 1996, was the world’s first editorial consultancy. Co-founded by writer and editor Rebecca Swift and Hannah Griffiths (now a publisher at Faber & Faber) it has sought to help writers gain in-depth, professional feedback. Some send their work before they submit to agents or publishers, others when they receive rejections and are confused about why. Nowadays, agents and publishers rarely have time to give detailed feedback to writers, so TLC filled in that gap. There are now other similar consultancies and ‘book doctor’ services, some more reputable than others.

Rebecca and her team currently work only in the English language, but they do work with writers outside the UK. They include Neamat Imam, a Bangladeshi-Canadian novelist, who with the help of TLC, signed with top UK agent David Godwin and whose book The Black Coat has been published by both Penguin in India and by Periscope Books in the UK; Damien Brown, whose account of working with Médecins sans Frontières, Band-Aid for a Broken Leg, was published by Allen & Unwin in Australia; Perdita and Honor Cargill, represented by Hannah Sheppard at DHH Literary Agency following a TLC assessment, who have just struck a two-book deal with Simon & Shuster; and Catherine Ferguson, represented by HHB Literary Agency who published her book Humbugs and Heartstrings via Harper Collins’ e-book first imprint Avon.

TLC’s editorial assessment service is suitable for writers who have started a project and would like guidance before continuing; writers working on a first draft; writers wanting an honest assessment of whether the work is ready to submit to an agent/self-publish; writers who are confused by feedback they have had. See the guideline to editorial fees. FEES

Mentoring

The consultancy’s online mentoring scheme, Chapter & Verse, for writers who want to see a book project through to completion; writers who need sustained support, with deadlines, encouragement, and constructive feedback. Chapter & Verse can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This scheme is designed to fit around a writer’s other commitments, providing over the course of a year six email feedback sessions with an experienced writing mentor who helps craft the work, help the writer find his or her voice and complete a full-length work. After the development process, writers receive a full editorial assessment of the whole work by a separate editor. This currently differentiates TLC’s service .

For those of you who can make it to London, TLC offers an Industry Day at its London base, the Free Word Centre, with an agent and editor as guests. Writers have attended from Bangkok, Canada and Europe. Those who can’t make it can access a PDF information pack with a write-up from the day.

Copy Editing and Proofreading

Matching copy-editors and proofreaders to writing projects is an area of our work we have seen increased interest in over the last few years,

As publishing options for writers proliferate and more authors decide to publish independently, TLC has seen increased interest from writers needing copy-editors and proofreaders. They will discuss with a writer whether this kind of editing is suitable before you part with any money. Writers who seek this service include those for whom English is a second language and who want help ‘cleaning up’ their work.

TLC does not advise writers to translate their own work into English unless they are an expert, as often this will result in a text that a copy-editor will have difficulty ‘fixing’. Copy-editing is corrective; not designed to re-write your text. It’s also not cheap, so make sure this is the final stage of editing, or you risk re-introducing errors which may need a further copy-edit to correct.

Who Uses Editorial Services?

‘We find that most of the writers coming to us are first-time or “emerging” writers wanting support to develop their craft and gain a better understanding of where their writing might fit into the market,’ said Swift. ‘But we also have regularly published or contracted writers come to us with books that, increasingly, their agents haven’t the time to help them develop.’

Most of the literary agents TLC works with are UK-based, but they also have contacts in Hong Kong, India, Australia, the USA, the Caribbean, and Africa, and they will do their best to support writers through these networks.

Finding Success as a Writer

Reaching publication success as a writer is in some ways easier than ever (via self-publishing), and in other ways more difficult than it’s ever been (squeezed editorial budgets, more focus on marketing and publicity when commissioning new titles within publishing houses).

On the one hand, the latest International Publisher’s Association annual report is encouraging; more books are being published than ever before. But this comes with a warning: Canongate Publisher Jamie Byng said in an article in The Guardian last year, ‘I think we publish too many books … and I think this impacts negatively on how well we publish books as an industry. It is very easy to acquire a book. Much harder to publish it successfully.’

There are some notably writers who disagree. Novelist Jenn Ashworth stated in the same article, ‘More books and more people talking about books is always excellent … it is a shame we have fewer and fewer librarians to help readers navigate their way through all this glorious literary chaos and find hidden gems.’

What’s clear is that good writing needs champions; those who can help not only source, but polish these ‘hidden gems’.

Says Swift: ‘When we find a particularly gifted writer, a “hidden gem” from any country, our professional reader or mentor flags the writer up to our in-house team. We will then look at the work, and think about the various pathways open to the writer; so what might be best for the book, according to the genre, the target readership, the market appeal, and so on.’

It’s an exciting time, and there are plenty of options for writers who are serious about writing, getting their work up to standard, and making it available to readers across the English-speaking world. The internet has opened up many possibilities, and it’s a thrill for all at TLC to be working at the intersection between the writing on the one hand, and potential readerships on the other, and finding ways to help writers form relevant links between the two.

By Aki Schilz

AkiSchilzTLCAki Schilz is a writer and poet based in London. She works as Editorial Manager at The Literary Consultancy.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: Purpose, people and place

How does one catch five minutes with Janet deNeefe, Founder and Director of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival? Believe it or not, it’s when she’s days away from inaugurating her food festival. Renee Melchert Thorpe spoke to Janet and her International Program Director, Summa Durie, about Ubud’s famous annual literary festival.

Q: Any drama you can share?

Janet-DeNeefeJanet: This is very much a family-run festival and maybe that adds to the charm. We are not held to ransom by publishers so can freely select the writers of our choice. Our funds are terribly limited but we are determined to survive no matter what! Behind the scenes…well there is often a little drama here or there but that adds to the excitement! 

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 3.44.06 pmSumma: Writing the program is a bit like piecing together a giant human jigsaw puzzle. With 165 writers appearing in over 220 sessions and events over 4 full days, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time is a tricky process. I often write a draft of the main program which is shared with my programming colleagues, we then sift through session by session refining and checking scheduling before the program is handed on to marketing. Marketing will then continue to tweak the copy before it’s all locked down and uploaded to the website or sent off to print. I think we all then take a deep breath and hope no one gets sick or can’t make it, as once you move/change one piece of the puzzle it has a ripple effect to the whole program.  Anyone that works in festivals must be a master of coming up with ingenious quick fix solutions on little sleep. Believe me, it’s a skill. 

Q: With programs in Indonesian and English, yearly themes that are often from Indonesian culture, what are you looking for in terms of writers?

Janet: We select authors based on our theme and also consider those who we think will suit Indonesia and our audience. The young Indonesians are mainly chosen from submitted work and a curatorial team selects about 15. This is a particularly hard job as we now receive more than 600 entries a year and have to trim it right back to a small amount. 

Summa: Each year we work with a central theme and key storylines that are woven throughout the program. The audience is able to follow a specific thread throughout the program if they wish and they can curate their own festival experience. The ideal festival program is a bit like a symphony: big notes, soft notes, light and dark. We try to make sure we have a bit of everything to keep our audiences engaged.

We’re also finding our audiences want more than the ‘talking heads’ experience – they want to engage with big issues or be able to ask questions of the writers. We always create spaces where the audience can participate, ask questions and interact with the writers. Writers and audiences comment that the barriers (invisible or not) are broken down between the audiences and the writers at the UWRF. 

While we’re a writers’ festival at heart we’ve also developed a strong arts program to complement the Main Program. The days are full of big discussion and ideas – the nights full of music, dance and art. We believe storytelling across art form is important to showcase – especially as we’re based in a country with a strong oral storytelling tradition. At UWRF we don’t believe stories belong only in books.

Q: How do you find sponsors?

Janet: Finding sponsors is like a comedy these days, or maybe more like a Shakespearian tragedy! Either way, you need a great sense of humor to deal with it. It doesn’t get any easier either. The fact that we don’t even have core funding is a bit depressing. Winning the lottery is probably the only solution.  
It is generally known amongst writers that we are not able to cover fees, but we make up for it by offering a magical, memorable time in a lovely, fascinating part of the world. Sometimes they, the writers, expect more than we can offer and while we do our best to please, we just can’t meet huge demands.

Q: What awaits the writers who participate?

Summa: Without doubt most writers fall in love with Ubud when they arrive – the UWRF is definitely a destination festival for both the writers and the audience.
Many of our speakers arrive the day before the first public event and are welcomed at a private event for writers and media. Most years this has been held at one of Ubud’s stunning hotels – with an array of delicious Indonesian food, drinks and performances on offer. Writers often exclaim that Bali is overwhelming for the senses, the landscape, the people, the spice of it all. This first event is a bit like the beginning of school camp. Writers mingle and get to know each other and quite often form strong little groups that stick together throughout the week, whether these are formed by genre of writing (e.g. the poets) or by personality, geography, et cetera. It’s wonderful seeing this bonding happen between writers from all over the world and more than once these bonds have extended beyond the Festival – both in ongoing personal and professional relationships. 

Q: What’s the Festival team working on all year?

Janet:  Indonesian program coordinator, Kadek, and her team are masters of logistics and have a timeline that is strongly adhered to. It’s a matter of making an enormous task list and ticking off one by one as completed. This part takes absolutely months of hard work and attention to detail.

I think 2011 was the first time we closed Jalan Gautama for a street party and the team spent many hours chatting with village heads, shop owners, residents and all, for everyone to agree. Of course it was a great success and even better the following year. Then we had to move it to another street because they asked for a street party too. The best part is it’s free for locals.

Summa:  I was at a festivals’ conference last year in Edinburgh and we discussed what makes a successful festival. The key three things were purpose, people and place. Janet created this festival in response to a tragedy. The purpose of the UWRF was to bring writers, thinkers and artists back to Ubud and Bali after the bombings. It has achieved this and now brings in over one million US dollars in economic benefit to the local community over the four days. For people, Janet has assembled a great team who deliver the Festival, but equally as important are the individuals in the local community who support and have a sense of ownership of the Festival. And finally, for place, Bali is one of the most beautiful places in the region it’s a stunning back drop for the Festival and will always be a place that draws artists and big thinkers.

Q: Some special memories you haven’t had a chance to talk about before?

Janet: The special events which revolve around limited admission lunches and dinners. The biggest names usually speak at tables best matched with chefs from a similar background. We did a wonderfully long lunch focusing on Vietnamese writers and a Vietnamese chef’s tasting menu. Another memorable lunch featured writers from the Middle East with Lebanese food.

Summa: Once the Festival has begun the actual program whizzes by in an absolute blur. I think the saddest thing for any curator is that the program you’ve spent 12 months nurturing and carefully crafting you barely get to see, as you’re so busy running around making sure simultaneous sessions are going up without a hitch. I truly relish those sessions I get to catch and I’m oh so thankful the audio from most sessions is recorded so I can relive the conversations later!

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 3.40.14 pmRenee Melchert Thorpe has been a staff writer for the Ubud Writers Festival since 2003. Her short stories have appeared in Dim Sum and the Asia Literary Review.

Closure of City University of Hong Kong’s Creative Writing Programme

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25 Distinguished Authors Protest


April 29, 2015: TWENTY-FIVE internationally recognised authors from around the world, including US Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Rae Armantrout, and Robert Olen Butler, have signed a letter to the President, Provost, and Chairman of the Council of the City University of Hong Kong, protesting the university’s decision to close its highly successful and admired MFA Programme in Creative Writing.

The MFA Programme, established only five years ago by Hong Kong-based novelist Xu Xi, has brought many distinguished writers (including the signers of the letter) to the university’s Kowloon Tong campus, and has already resulted in six books and hundreds of published poems, essays, and short stories by MFA graduates and current students.

The only reason given for the closure (which was announced, with no previous discussion, by the acting chair of the Department of English on 27 April) was that “the programme has only been able to enrol a small number of students every year.” However, the current size of the program (approximately 40 students) is well within the model proposed by Xu Xi when the university established the program in 2010. The program is financially self-sustaining as of 2015.

In their open letter protesting the university’s decision, the writers state: “The CityU MFA Programme is the first truly global creative writing program anywhere in the world. It has attracted students from 20 different countries, and a writing faculty that represents literary traditions of Asia, the Americas, and Europe…In the future, we feel that the MFA Programme promises to make CityU a widely recognised centre of global literary and cultural dialogue, which will in turn contribute to Hong Kong’s growing importance as a international centre of arts and culture.”

Current students and alumnae of the MFA Programme have reacted with shock and disbelief to the news of the programme’s closure. Many of them have taken to social media, noting that the MFA Programme offered them the only opportunity to pursue a degree in creative writing without relocating to the US or UK, that it has given them an opportunity to explore their roots or connections to Asia in a welcoming environment, and that it provides a rare haven in Hong Kong for free, imaginative expression. A petition from current and former students and supporters will be delivered to the university administration within days; other protest measures are under discussion.

The authors who signed the letter are: Jess Row (USA), Tabish Khair (India/Denmark), Nami Mun (USA), Evan Fallenberg (Israel), Robin Hemley (Singapore), Jose Dalisay (Phillipines), Suzanna Paola (USA), Shawn Wong (USA), Marilyn Chin (USA), Luis Francia (USA), James Scudamore (UK), Ravi Shankar (USA), Rae Armantrout (Pulitzer Prize winner, USA), Tina Chang (USA), Bob Shacochis (Pulitzer Prize finalist, USA), Junot Díaz (Pulitzer Prize winner, USA), Robert Olen Butler (Pulitzer Prize winner, USA),Ira Sukrungruang (USA), Sybil Baker (USA), Sharmistha Mohanty (India), Madeleine Thien (Canada), Chang-rae Lee (USA), Richard Blanco (US Inaugural Poet, 2012, USA), Richard Jackson (USA), Rawi Hage (Canada).

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For more information, contact
Jess Row, MFA Programme faculty: rowjess@gmail.com (USA) +1 718 490 4203
Xu Xi, MFA Programme leader: xuxi@me.com (Hong Kong) +852 9175 2839